Dogs in Antarctica
The dogs used by Antarctica New Zealand were originally from Greenland. They were fed on seal meat but also ate mutton.
When used on field trips they were fed pemmican, a highly concentrated form of meat roll (dried beef). Over the years the huskies were regularly swapped between bases to broaden the genetic stock.
The huskies were a good mode of transport in the early years of Antarctic exploration. They could travel 20 or 30 miles a day, which meant that over a month or so scientists could cover long distances.
As the type of science changed and scientists needed to travel further, dogs were less useful.
Although new blood lines had been introduced over the years, inbreeding occurred and there were also problems with disease such as arthritis and deterioration of the heart.
Once seals become protected, killing them to supplement the huskies' diet became environmentally problematic.
The introduction of the motor toboggan or ‘tin dog’ in the 1960’s led to a gradual reduction in husky numbers.
Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s dogs were really only used for recreational trips and the last animals were removed from Scott Base in February 1987.